It's not my fault.
–Toni Morrison - God help the child - c.2015
When Lula Ann is born her mother is horrified by how dark she is. Sweetness is light skinned. So is her husband. The baby becomes a source of tension, and he leaves them both. Sweetness is determined to protect her daughter from the world and so she intends to make her better, to ensure that Lula Ann’s behaviour is beyond reproach. Or at least, that is her justification for being so hard on her daughter. For ensuring she grows up desperate for human contact and love.
Now all grown up Lula Ann has become Bride. A beautiful blue-black woman who dresses only in white. A successful business woman. But she is haunted by her past. And a lie that she told when she was child that condemned an innocent woman.
The actions of children, and more importantly the action on children are what this book is all about.
What you do to children matters. And they might never forget.
It is a slim book. And almost cold and distant in some of the writing. As a reader I never felt that I really got to know any of the characters. But somehow that didn’t really spoil my enjoyment or interest in the story.
It is a book with a message, and in some ways the message takes over the story, yet that never bothered me. I know that I have, on many occasions, complained about message books and how the story is more important. I guess this book is the exception that proves the rule. Either that or Morrison just writes so well that I didn’t feel the lack quite so much.
In some ways it feels like a fable or a fairy tale to me. A surface story without too much depth or character development. And maybe it could have done with a bit more of that, but in another way, it didn’t need that. It worked on a certain level.
An interesting read rather than one I’d revisit too often.